NBA Draft ESPN: John Jenkins should have been drafted higher

USA TODAY Sports

Where one of ESPN's basketball experts compares a consensus lottery pick this year to last year's #23 pick.

In one of the latest ESPN 5-on-5 series, (Insider required) where five NBA analysts get asked five questions about a topic, the subject was NBA comparisons for some of the lottery-type picks in this year's draft.

Among the panel, David Thorpe, who specializes in tracking rookie work for the site (Rookie Watch), but generally is a part of the stable of guys who watch basketball and write for ESPN.


Full disclosure: Thorpe also graduated from the University of Florida and is therefore never wrong. Go Gators.

The first player discussed was Lehigh's CJ McCollum, a player routinely forecasted to go in the lottery. First up was Thorpe and this was his commentary:

I see a lot of John Jenkins in him. And that's not the knock you think it is -- Jenkins was drafted too low last year. McCollum looks as if he can be an excellent shooter, and though his wingspan is good, I prefer to just consider arm length, and that looks to be excellent. Great shooters who can be solid defenders are so valuable -- you can see that by watching the Spurs.

I'll admit, I was surprised when the Hawks snagged Jenkins at 23 last year, but was quickly encouraged by knowing he could shoot -- having seen it in SEC play. When we got a look at him in summer league, with the Dan Marino Brand quick release, I was good with it.

But Thorpe thinks he was drafted too low? Wow. I don't remember that on draft night, though Jenkins was always mentioned as being the best shooter in the draft. In fact, Thorpe's colleague at ESPN, Chad Ford, had Jenkins ranked 37th on his Big Board, and projected him to go to Cleveland at #33 in his last mock draft.

Here is the list of the draftees in the first round:

First round:

  1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis
  2. Charlotte Bobcats - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Dion Waiters
  5. Sacramento Kings - Thomas Robinson
  6. Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard
  7. Golden State Warriors - Harrison Barnes
  8. Toronto Raptors - Terrence Ross
  9. Detroit Pistons - Andre Drummond
  10. New Orleans Hornets - Austin Rivers
  11. Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard
  12. Houston Rockets - Jeremy Lamb
  13. Phoenix Suns - Kendall Marshall
  14. Milwaukee Bucks - John Henson
  15. Philadelphia 76ers - Maurice Harkless
  16. Houston Rockets - Royce White
  17. Cleveland Cavaliers (Via Dallas) - Tyler Zeller
  18. Houston Rockets - Terrence Jones
  19. Orlando Magic - Andrew Nicholson
  20. Denver Nuggets - Evan Fournier
  21. Boston Celtics - Jared Sullinger
  22. Boston Celtics - Fab Melo
  23. Atlanta Hawks - John Jenkins
  24. Dallas Mavericks (Via Cleveland) - Jared Cunningham
  25. Memphis Grizzlies - Tony Wroten Jr.
  26. Indiana Pacers - Miles Plumlee
  27. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Miami) - Arnett Moultrie
  28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Perry Jones III
  29. Chicago Bulls - Marquis Teague
  30. Golden State Warriors - Festus Ezeli

Where do you think Jenkins should have been drafted -- Do you agree with Thorpe yet?

Look over that list and tell me if you can see teams, if they had the chance to do it over, taking Jenkins higher?

Advanced statistically speaking, Jenkins ranked well there, too.

I used advanced stats, ranked 'em by Win Shares and filtered all entries that didn't play at least 10 minutes per game last year as a rookie, but included rookie players that weren't even in last year's draft because, basically, I was too lazy to do that bit of editing. Sorry.

Still, Jenkins shows out well here, too, and maybe you start to see Thorpe's point.

Final point in Thorpe's favor for some readers who might think the guy is nuts -- He selected Gorgui Dieng for the Hawks in their Collaborative Mock Draft. (also Insider) -- a seemingly overwhelming site favorite for one of the Hawks' selections, so there's that.

Exit Question(s): Do you concur with Thorpe that Jenkins should have been drafted earlier? Where do you think he would be drafted in there were a re-do?

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